Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Water at Sea

On May 27, 1943 a B-24 bomber named "The Green Hornet" went down in the Pacific Ocean while flying a search and rescue mission. Louis Zamperini was on that plane. He and another crew member survived the crash and for 47 days fought for survival on the open seas in a small inflatable raft. They had very few provisions and went as many as six days at a time without drinking water. Water became one of their most precious resources. They prayed for rain and perfected techniques of capturing as much as they could.* Imagine the irony of literally being surrounded by a sea of water while you are dying of thirst. As far as their eyes could see in any direction there was only water, yet none of it was able to quench their thirst. In fact, because of its high saline content, this water would only dehydrate them more.

This is the spiritual situation we all find ourselves in. We are dying of thirst for something spiritually real, something that satisfies, someone who can put us right with God. And we are surrounded by a sea of options that purport to be able to satisfy this thirst. We are tempted to turn to horoscopes to give us hope for the future; to other religions for a more palatable view of God; to love to give us self-worth and meaning; to entertainment to provide rest, and to nature to explain our origins and give purpose to our lives. But just like saltwater none of these solutions satisfy our thirst. They leave us worse off than we were before. Only Jesus satisfies!

Jesus highlights this aspect of His mission at the Festival of Booths. This festival is a celebration of God's provision for His people as they wandered in the dessert. No small part of that provision was that God provided water for so large a group of people in a dessert setting. Thus, Jesus stands on the last day of the celebration and says in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38)

Whether you are in a dessert or an ocean, you can't live very long without water. Water is one of the most basic human needs. Jesus is telling us that He is much more than one helpful bit of spiritual nourishment among many options. He is the only one that truly satisfies, that meets our needs. It is easy to forget this though. You would think I would have this figured out. I'm a believer and a pastor, but still I sometimes forget that only Jesus satisfies. He is the one source of living water.

In so many ways I am like Martha. Remember the sisters Martha and Mary. As Martha swarms around Jesus busy with the details of hosting an important teacher and His disciples, her sister sits at Jesus' feet idly taking in His precious presence. So often I am like Martha- lost in a swarm of activity and missing the blessings of Jesus' presence. I'm starving over here, working my fingers to the bone because I think it's what Jesus wants me to do. But what does Jesus say? "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)

Help us all Lord to choose the better portion. As we drift in this sea of false hope and false gods, gently remind us that only You satisfy. Only You solve our real problem, the problem of sin. Only You can truly give us the hope of Heaven. Draw us to Your feet through Your Word and through prayer. Help us Jesus to feast on Your presence today.

For further reading...

  • John 6:32-40- Consider also Jesus' statement that He is the bread of life. 

*Details taken from the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

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